The color reproduction of the Nikon D3000 is similar to that of its predecessors. There seems to be less saturation, while red, blue and green are less emphasized. Yet, the colors are powerful enough to be perceived as pleasant. It is particularly the target group of novices in DSLR photography that appreciate the somewhat more vivid colors, without these coming across as unnatural, of course. Skin tones are also reproduced quite naturally, and show only slight signs of a pinky tone for a white skin. Compared to the calibrated colors of the Gretag Macbeth Color Checker, a slight difference is visible. Fairly consistent, over the entire ISO range, the pictures show the typical Nikon-like colors.
White balance settings
While testing the white balance, we find the Nikon D3000 encountering some problems in effectively filtering color cast caused by incandescent light in auto white balance mode. The result is a warm color tone and in some cases; too warm a tone. Setting the white balance to the incandescent mode solves the problem only partially; for an optimal result, a manual white balance is needed. If you really want to take things to the limit, you should also set the exposure compensation to approximately +1 EV. The D3000 does have less difficulty to filter color cast, for example caused by fluorescent light.
Resolution versus noise ratio
The fact Nikon has opted for a resolution of 10 Megapixels is welcomed warmly however, undoubtedly the wish to create a severe difference between the D5000 and D30000 is the underlying reason. The resolution of 12 Megapixels did prove in our previous tests (Nikon D5000) that it hardly had a negative impact on the noise ratio. In practice, it means that the Nikon D3000 creates pictures of excellent to fine quality up to ISO 1600, which means the camera is able to come up with satisfying results in many circumstances. ISO 3200 also belongs to the possibilities, however, this artificial boost suffers more quickly from noise when the lighting conditions are not optimal.
Dynamic range of the Nikon D3000
The dynamic range of the Nikon D3000 digital SLR camera is excellent. Up to 1600 ISO, the dark areas still show detail, and also the light areas in the picture show enough information. There is hardly any chance to find blown highlights and blocked shadows in the pictures. Compared to a compact camera, and even more so to a cameraphone, the dynamic range of a DSLR achieves a high level. Whereas before you would find a large blot that was supposed to be the leaf of a rose, you will now find a leaf with veins.
Nikon D3000 apertures
The Nikon D3000 digital SLR camera has been tested with an 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 G VR lens, which is a standard kit lens. Sharpness in the center is fine for aperture f/3.5 up to f/16. Blur towards the edges becomes visible at f/4 yet improves at apertures of f5.6 and higher. From f/32, blur towards the edges becomes worse and blur is also visible in the centre.
Automatic distortion correction
Distortion is annoying at the edges in wide angle mode. In fact, the entire aperture range suffers from it. This is when the Retouche Menu of the D3000 comes in handy. If this function [Auto distortion correction] is activated, the picture can be corrected for distortion afterwards. You can also manually select the gradation of the correction. If you want to get ahead of things, you can activate the Auto distortion correction in the capture menu which means corrections will take place during shooting. This is only possible for G and D lenses with the exception of fish-eye and pc lenses.
Nikon D3000 chromatic aberration
Chromatic aberration in wide angle is close to unacceptable. Purple edges around contrast-rich parts of subjects are visible at every aperture, even though the JPEG images are cleaned from chromatic aberration by the camera during photographing. Unfortunately, this kit lens disappoints in this area. The other focal lengths are free from visible chromatic aberration which is quite remarkable. Unfortunately, the lens not only suffers from the effect of chromatic aberration but also from vignetting, clearly visible at maximum aperture over the entire focal length. It's not until you set the aperture to f/8 that this phenomenon disappears.